“Let my trust be in your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in Your love, not in health, or strength, or ability or human resources.
If I trust in You, everything else will become, for me, strength, health, and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust You, everything will be my destruction.”—Thomas Merton
I am a sheep.
How you doin’?
Now in different climes, this could mean different things. To people of faith, I could be acknowledging my desire to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd. To hipsters, punks and other breeds of nonconformist, I could be admitting that I fail to deviate from the societal norm. To physicists, I could be declaring myself to be a computer program that calculates General Relativity.
In the gun world, I am a sheep, and apparently that’s not a good thing.
How many progressive Christians grimace a little whenever they hear about Baptists? To be fair, some of the most vocal among them present a less-like-Christian and more-like-Republican worldview, so this reputation is not terribly surprising.
But as is often the case when we generalize, we miss out on the image of Christ in our neighbors. Behind all the politicking, gay marriage-banning, you’re-going-to-hell preaching that we hear about in the news, there is a sincere desire to do what all Christians want to do: follow Jesus.
Baptists hold a belief system that I cannot subscribe to. I do not see the Bible as the inerrant, complete Word of God. I do not believe that congregations should hire and fire their clergy. I believe in a unified liturgy. Yet though I disagree with these and other fine points of doctrine, I refuse to enter that debate over whose faith tradition is better. And I will also listen when Baptists have good things to say, and they very often do.
So in the spirit of ecumenism, here are some Baptists who have done good work for God. Continue reading →